BRIDGEPORT, Texas – Commitment to the community is the key reason several locals are part of the volunteers who orchestrate the Bridgeport rodeo.
“With Butterfield Stage Days, we try to draw some people from all walks of life to come and see what all we have to offer,” said Katherine Hudson, now in her 20th year as one of the volunteers for the Karl Klement Butterfield Stage Days Rodeo set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 8, and Saturday, May 9, at Sunset Retreat Arena, formerly the Bridgeport Riding Club Arena.
“With the rodeo and the festival, we want to have enough to do to attract not just those who are in the rodeo, but the people who follow the rodeo. We have something for them to do during the day time.”
The rodeo will feature a brilliant mix of true athleticism and family entertainment, showcased by the brightest stars in professional rodeo. That includes the likelihood of Wise County world champions like Trevor Brazile and his brother-in-law, Tuf Cooper, both of whom brought more gold buckles home to north Texas in 2014.
But there’s so much more to the rodeo than the incredible competition; for the first time in the event’s history, highly decorated entertainer Troy “The Wild Child” Lerwill will showcase his talents and brand of comedy for the Bridgeport crowd.
“You learn something new every year, and you learn things you can do to make it better,” said David Turnbow, chairman of the volunteer committee. “We want to bring in things that will interest the crowd and try to get the whole community out there.”
When competition and entertainment are combined, it makes for quite an entertaining two days.
“I enjoy putting on something in a small city that brings out a wide variety of people that like to watch but don’t go anywhere else to watch,” Hudson said. “They have a chance at watching a professional cowboy that they might not have seen.”
The local rodeo typically features regular qualifiers to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Take the 2014 event, for example: Three-time world champion Will Lowe won the bareback riding title in Bridgeport, while Brazile – who owns a ProRodeo record 21 world titles – won the all-around crown. Other winners included National Finals qualifiers like saddle bronc rider Jacobs Crawley and steer roper Chet Herren.
“Our rodeo and the festival downtown are pretty darn huge for the community,” Turnbow said. “Just the tax dollars that this thing brings in is incredible, with people staying in hotels, eating in the local restaurants and stopping at our fuel stations.
“I think the rodeo and the festival goes hand in hand very well and does some great things for our community.”